Used: 2011

I had been pricing airfares to Peru for months. They kept jumping up and down for the summer. I wasn’t super picky about when I went as long as I went during the months of July or August. I waited too long and prices jumped into the $1000’s. I was out. Then I realized that I was super close to finally cashing in my frequent flier points for a free ticket. I was so excited about this! Dates were open for the end of August and all I had to do was buy $300 worth of points. SCORE!!! I held the ticket and waited for the points to get deposited into my account. As soon as they were approved, I did a quick check through Kayak to see what was available for the dates I saved and of course, up came a ticket through Taca airlines for just under $600, which is what I budgeted for at the beginning of the year. AGH!!!!! I actually clicked the link and it took me to the Orbitz website (ehhhh) where it tells me it has found a cheaper ticket! What the-?! How and why does this happen? So even though I have two stops on the way back (vs. one using my rewards) the price is too good to pass up. I buy the ticket. As always, I checked the Taca website to see if they can complete with Orbitz and they can’t. By far. Seriously, it’s like a $300 plus price difference.

I didn’t know much about Taca going into it at first, but knew they were a reputable airline with decent service to Latin and South America. Not fantastic, but all I care about is safety and price. And I knew they ticked both of those boxes. I asked everyone on my tour what airline they took and the other Americans had taken Spirit down from Washington DC and I groaned, knowing how bad they were and while they were cheap, I would NEVER use then to fly international. When I asked why they didn’t take Taca, they said that the flight agitator they used said Taca was might not be approved to fly when the time came. What the hell?! I had never heard that about them, it was so weird that they were told that. I felt bad too, because I paid less for my ticket and I didn’t have to fly Spirit.

They were a pretty decent airline. I checked in luggage for the first time in forever as two pieces were included into my ticket and check in was so super easy. Might have helped since I arrived wicked early. My flight down was split and I had to transfer planes in El Salvador, because Taca is their national airline. Each flight was approximately 5 hours. On the first flight, I would say the majority of the flight did not speak English as a first language, which is weird since the flight originated in the US. We were given two meals (yay food!) but there were not personal tv’s on the back seat, we were just shown two movies on overhead screens. Not too bad, 5 hours isn’t too long for me. The best part was that the flight was not full and there was only me at the window and some on the aisle, with the middle seat empty. My favorite! When that happens, I just pull down the center tray and use that, to keep my space clear.

The flight from El Salvador to Lima was a bit different. Packed plane, but I would say at least half of the passengers, if not more spoke English as a first language, which is funny considering the plane departed and arrived in Spanish-speaking countries. We only got one meal and I got a repeat of one of the movies I had seen already on the overhead screens. The flight was super bumpy as we were flying over land and over the equator where clouds tend to congregate and create bad weather. But at 4 and a half hours, at least the flight was shorter.

Heading home was fine. I only flew on Taca from El Salvador back to LAX and I knew what to expect. Throw in the fact that I was just super anxious to get home, it wasn’t the best flight, but no part of that had to do with Taca. Well, maybe a little. One meal and countless drinks, which were all fine. I ended up on an aisle seat, which I never sit at, but couldn’t change my seat to window before they were all taken up. I actually didn’t mind the aisle seat as I felt like I could spread out more into the aisle and the turbulence wasn’t as bad for me. I tend to stress out a bit when I sit at the window, oddly enough. The thing that makes me an ideal window seat mate is my ability to not use the bathroom during most flights. I can’t remember the last time I asked the person on the aisle to get up so I could go. On my long haul flights, I just hold it until my seat mates get up and then take advantage of the time they are up and get up every time they do. On anything less than 5 hours, I hold it. Why can’t you?! I realized the joys of the aisle on this flight, but having to get up twice for others, really pissed me off a lot. I am a window person, though and through. And a darn good one at that. For some reason, the English channel in my seat didn’t work, so I couldn’t watch the two movies shown, which normally would piss me of a lot, but I was so anxious to get home, it surprisingly didn’t bug me. Too much.

Moral: I would whole heartily recommend Taca. They have a really good system for their flights to Latin America. The food was good. The service was good. They were always on time. Of course, personal tv’s are my favorite, but for 5 hour flights, I can handle the lack of. And if the price can’t be beat, grab it!!

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